Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio center of college basketball universe
IU, Louisville, UK, Ohio State hold top 4 spots
Last Updated: 219 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - Four schools within 150 miles of each other will rule the college basketball roost this season, if college basketball prognosticators can be believed.
The USA Today/ESPN preseason poll puts the top four teams in the country in the three states of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, with Indiana University ranked No. 1 for the first time in 20 years.
The Hoosiers lead a regional logjam at the top of the rankings, with Louisville coming in at No. 2.
Defending NCAA Tournament champions Kentucky is ranked third, with Ohio State coming in fourth.
Indiana has been on a steady incline for the last couple of years, and much is expected out of this Hoosier team, with veterans Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls, Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey returning to go along with Cody Zeller, who is expected to be a lottery pick when he decides to go pro.
Coach Tom Crean has also brought in one of the best recruiting classes in recent history.
Just down Interstate 65, Louisville returns three starters from a team that went to the Final Four last year, and the Cardinals have also added a solid recruiting class.
At Kentucky, the recruiting juggernaut that is coach John Calipari has again brought in a top-ranked recruiting class. He’ll need them to develop quickly, because the Wildcats produced the top two picks in the NBA draft and lost five players overall to the draft.
In Columbus, Ohio State is shaping up to have another great team, with several key returners and a strong recruiting class to back them up.
While IU and UK did not renew their annual rivalry game, the Hoosiers will face Ohio State twice in the Big Ten regular season schedule.
Kentucky and Louisville will face off early in the season.
In addition to the top four teams, the three states also boast some other teams in the top 25 mix. Notre Dame is preseason No. 23. Cincinnati and Butler both received votes for inclusion in the poll.
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